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Defra consulted on a proposed amendment to the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste (“the UK Plan”) to allow the export of contaminated sediments from the River Tyne for disposal.
The UK has a policy of prohibiting, with limited exceptions, the shipment of waste to or from the UK for disposal. This policy is contained in the UK Plan. The Plan underpins the principles of self-sufficiency and proximity in waste disposal that are set out in EU waste legislation. The Plan can be viewed on the web at: www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/waste-shipments.pdf.
Under the UK Plan, exceptions to the general prohibition on exports for disposal can currently be made, but in the case of non-hazardous waste, the only exception provided for is for small quantities for trial runs - to assess a new technology for example. Thus an amendment to the UK Plan would be needed to allow contaminated river sediments that are non-hazardous waste to be exported for disposal.
The River Tyne Sediment Steering Group have asked Defra to expedite this request for an amendment to the UK Plan because the Group is concerned that there should be a proper contingency plan in place as soon as possible for the management of the dredgings, and to allow any dredging operations to commence as soon as possible in support of planned development of the River Tyne basin. Given that some informal consultations have already been undertaken with industry and with affected parties, comments on this proposed amendment and consequential changes to the UK Plan were requested by close on 10 February 2012.